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Alex strains the Morality of Fridgar

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Descent into Chaos Part 3: Questionable Morality

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31st of Zi’da, Arc 716
Alex bundled into the small shack, shaking herself vigorously. The snow that seemed to fall only to melt the following trial was clinging to her shoulders, and she brushed it off quickly.

She set the cloth bag down and carefully pulled out a variety of materials. It had taken her the better part of the trial to carefully make her way from shop to shop, switching her disguise regularly. Anyone who was trying to follow her would have a hard time doing so, should any find something suspicious to begin with.

Most shops didn’t have what she was looking for, but after much trial and error, she had realized that doctors shops, medicine dispensaries and odd looking shops in alleys were her best bet. She had been scalped, and she knew that much. There was no way what she had just bought was worth what she was charged, but she needed the materials.

A thump against the floor directly under her startled her from her thoughts, and she set about getting ready. Her father and her had set about preparing the testing equipment carefully; neither of them was particularly skilled at carpentry or construction, so they filled any flaw left by inexperience with more and more wood. Fridgar had helped a little, though he didn't appear to know much more than them. The result was a reinforced chair so solid Alex couldn’t lift it alone, a table bolted to the floor, and half a dozen leather restraints nailed crudely into the wood.

Warren appeared from the hole and nodded his greetings to her. “You get what you needed?” He asked.

Alex didn’t speak, merely gesturing to the full bag on the table. Together, the two of them moved the chair over to the table, right by the fire. Warren disappeared to get more firewood as Alex began preparing the first poison.

Today they would be testing various poisons. They would each be given a specific poison and monitored, then the antidote. Provided none of them died or had horrible side effects, Alex would then be able to test again the following day.

Her father had procured, from Aelig knew where, a mostly full and very well used Chemists kit and over a dozen needles. Everything she needed should be there, though she was sure she’d realize part way through that something was missing.

She pulled out a large bag of Mokou Beans, throwing several into the mortar and began to work. Her thoughts drifted, momentarily, to the morality of what she was doing, but she dismissed the thoughts easily. These women should have been better protected.

They brought this on themselves. The law is useless, and they took themselves outside of the government's protection when they broke the law. Something I can’t forget if I’m to finish this job, Alex thought.

A break passed as Alex ground, her father joining her partway through and taking over.

After several of the beans were completely crushed down to the finest powder, Alex carefully measured out a teaspoon into a dozen tiny cheesecloth bags, which were placed into small beakers.

From within the depths of the sack, Alex pulled out a clear bottle of Vodka. It was the strongest stuff she had found in Andaris, but it wasn’t good enough yet. Alex half filled the large Alembic chamber. She carefully attached it to the smaller, collection chamber, and set it down carefully. The height had to be adjusted, but soon the alcohol was bubbling away merrily, though Alex had to be careful with the heat. If it became too hot, the water would begin to boil and dilute the pure alcohol.

Alex had turned around for a moment when she heard a loud pop. A stab of pain in her neck made her cry out, and her hand flew back as she spun.

What the hell had happened?

Meeting her eyes was a ruined chamber, shattered under the heat. Glass pieces were everywhere, and the remaining vodka was dripping onto the floor.

Glad that she never took off her shoes, Alex was cautious as she made her way back. She turned off the burner and carefully looking over the ruined apparatus. It appeared there had been a crack in the body of the alembic, and the heating had somehow caused part of it to swell. Shoddy work, Alex thought with a grimace. She wiped the surface of the catchment bin clean, and her face contorted again.

There wasn’t enough to make all the doses she needed, meaning she’d need to go out and get more, or else she’d need to kill off some of her prisoners in the next few trials.

She debated the options as she waited for the alcohol to cool, and carefully poured it into the vials. She stoppered them and set them off to the side. The mokou beans would make the women drowsy enough to be easily manhandled, though she doubted the giant of a man would need the help.

Suddenly realizing that she hadn’t noticed him, Alex looked up, calling out for him at the same time. “Fridgar? It’s time, and I need you to grab one of the subjects.”
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Mokou Beans- 10GN (Only used 4gn, or 1 Dose)
Vodka-15GN
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Being sat around with nothing to do was the absolute worst. Fridgar groaned with boredom, the silence of the 'room' seemed to muffle any attempt he made to break the boredom. Throwing his head back over the backrest of the chair, he groaned once more - not that anyone could cared. Several trills of agonising silence passed before he finally stood up and raised his fists. His stances could use more work, as demonstrated yesterday in the Aukari fight. And hey, it was something to do, right? He assumed his typical fighting stance, left food forward right foot back and pointing to the right slightly. This stance gave him balance and the potential to manipulate his weight into his punches. Now it was time to figure out how.

Starting with a right cross he threw his fist forward, striking through the air with a light 'swish'. He then stood back up all the way and rolled his shoulder, loosening up before exercising. He re-assumed his stance and raised his fists once more, the tried twisting his body with the next right cross. Again, he punched through the air. it felt harder than before though, as though his fist travelled harder and faster than the last time. That wasn't all though, as he twisted his body, he felt a tug at his hamstrings. There was a lot more potential to the punch than what he'd mustered, but his stance was getting in the way. He tried once more, but this time he twisted his right foot on his toes to face forward, unlocking a lot of weight for his punch. He grinned, impressed by the massive weight increase of a bunch with something as simple as the twist of a foot.

Still impressed, he practised the technique over and over - it will come in handy for his next scrap. After working up a slight sweat and picking up his breathing and heart rate a little, his training was interrupted by the sound of smashing? He tilted his head at the doorway to the room he was in, what had happened? Was Valyeria in trouble? Had someone broken in? Deciding it best that he check up on what happened, peaked his head around the make shit wooden wall that separated the two rooms. He saw Val at work, finishing a clean-up on some broken glass, he shrugged, women were good at dropping and breaking things after all. She hadn't noticed him peaking, or so he'd hoped, and so he returned to his workout.

Once he'd gotten back into his fight stance, he managed one punch before Valyeria called for him. She was ready for the prisoner? Excitement overcame him, finally something to do! He tidied himself up a bit and popped his knuckles before leaving the room, grinning from ear-to-ear. The boredom had at last been broken.

Full of enthusiasm, the giant of a man bounded to the basement hatch, speaking "You've got it, boss." As he passed. With a series of loud thumping footsteps later, he arrived where the three girls from yesterday were kept. An uncomfortable pain in his chest diminished his previous excitement and reminded him of just what he had to do exactly. Frowning, he took note to remind himself of the details before getting excited next time. He sighed with remorse before approaching one of the bound women. Despite being blind folded, she backed up, squirming as far as she could into the dirt wall trying to escape him. He paused, a pained expression filling his eyes "I'm sorry." He spoke before continuing his approach.

In response, the woman began thrashing in protest, screaming through her gags as if pleading not to be taken, killed or worse. Fridgar did his best to ignore it and get on with his job, but he couldn't help but wallow in the discomfort of his gut. He grabbed the woman and ignored her thrashing, pulling her to her feet despite all her fighting. She sure didn't make it easy for him. In her struggle, she shook free of his grip and walloped him in the cheek with her bound hands. His head turned with the blow and rage filled his form. He slammed his fist into the dirt wall next to her head, baring his teeth as the shooting pain filled his arm "Knock it off!" he roared in her face, losing his patience with the stupid girl. She melted into a puddle in front of him, her fighting turning to crying. With a fed-up grunt, he grabbed hold of her wrist and yanked her from the floor, throwing her onto his shoulder. She didn't fight back.

With a furrowed brow and a heavy glare, he climbed from the basement once more with the first prisoner on his shoulder. He looked to Valyeria and sighed, blowing off some of his rage. "She's a fighter." He explained briefly in passing as he approached the table they'd fashioned crudely. Without mercy, he dropped the bound girl onto the table, she grunted and curled up from the sudden painful impact. "But she's all yours now. Anything else you need?" he asked without regard for the evil he was committing.
Last edited by Varthakh on Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 889
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Alex had to smile at his enthusiasm. It was infectious, and she began to work with some more energy. When she turned around, the vial of mokou extract in her hands, he was already gone. Well then... Alex thought as she heard the muffled thumps from beneath her feet. That was one way to do it.

She set the vial down; if he wanted to keep doing it that way, she wasn't about to complain. It meant she didn't need to worry about killing off her patients due to a lack of resources.

There was a loud thump and a shout in Fridgar's low baritone voice. Alex snorted, realizing the woman was putting up a bit of a fight. What was the point in fighting someone so much bigger?

She was dropped unceremoniously on the table, Alex flinching at the noise. "Thanks. For future reference, pour a vial into her mouth, then plug her nose to make her swallow. It should make her a bit...easier to control. For now, could you strap her into the chair?"

While he did that, Alex prepared the first dose of poison. From her sack, she pulled out a sack of Moseke's Mist roots, six or seven doses worth. She hadn't truly thought about the possibility until after her poisoning at the wine tasting.

Moseke's Mist was incredibly dangerous, everyone knew that. Too much could leave you barren, bleeding or dead, but without it, pregnancies were all too common. Given that the woman was known to be...promiscuous, she had to be using it.

Alex began grinding one of the roots up, while she threw a second in an airtight beaker and set it over the burner. It caught flame almost instantly, but without oxygen, the flame petered out quickly. The chamber was soon obscured by steam, and Alex quickly removed it from the heat. The liquid she extracted and poured into another beaker, which was then mixed with alcohol. The resulting brew was something Mr.Gardener had taught her as a method of dealing with overdosing on Mist.

"You want to watch?" Alex asked, realizing that Fridgar must be bored out of his mind. "It might be something different to do, anyway."

She began to talk as she worked, explaining her process. "Mist is something women use to prevent becoming pregnant. I need you to feed the woman this," she said, holding out a strip of root, "but watch your fingers. She'll likely try to bite them off."

Once that was done, Alex sighed. "Now we have to wait at least a break for that to be absorbed. Actually, while you're at it, do you want to go feed the rest of them? Then we don't have to wait."

When he disappeared, Alex dumped out the rest of the supplies in her bag. Half a dozen candles tumbled out, and Alex dumped them all in a large pot over the fireplace to melt. Barkskin, Iyo-cone, something she had never seen before called "Swiftweb", and the last, most important item; Naf-rush.

Today was going to be spent testing three different methods of adding Mist to candles. She explained all of this to Fridgar, when he returned and filled a small test tube with the wax and then gently stirred in the Mist powder. The second method involved making a tincture of Mist, which was then blended with the Naf-rush and added to a second test tube. The final method involved juicing the root and combining it with the Naf-rush.

Throughout the whole process, she explained each step. She wasn't sure which of these would work, so by testing one on each woman, she could see what did and didn't work. The antidote was close at hand, but Alex doubted she'd need it. The candles, when lit, would excrete the Mist, but it shouldn't cause an overdose unless someone was already taking a normal amount.

She lit the first candle, pulling out her notebook. "Can you take her pulse for me? Either at the wrist or the neck, but I need to keep track of it. Also, watch to see if she begins to bleed at all."
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"Oh... Right..." He stood with a faraway look on his face for a moment, a look that signalled that he was thinking. "But where's the fun in that?" He asked with a playful grin. People like this were undeserving of mercy or forgiveness, he'd be more than happy to treat them to a rough ride from the basement - it's the least they deserved. "Sure thing." he complied, roughly taking hold of the girls wrists and strapping them in tight, then did the same with her ankles - almost cutting off the blood flow with the unforgiving grip of the straps. Once finished, he looked to Valyeria triumphantly - she was doing some science stuff. His right eye twitched with irritation, the mere sight of all of her equipment enough to bring back the boredom.

Almost braindead by the time she'd offered him to watch, he saw his opportunity to escape. "Sure" Wait what? "I'd love to." 'You idiot! Now you must sit through nerdy science!' he sighed internally - It might not be so bad, he might even learn a thing or two.

Awaking from his daydream, she was holding out a piece of root to him. "Uhhh... Yes!" He responded, hoping it was the right thing to say as to not give away that he had the attention span of a gold fish. He took the root from her fingers and listened to what she said after, by what he could gather - he was meant to feet her the root? And not get bitten doing it? He held her head down and commanded "Open up." but she only tightened her lips. Twitching some more as his irritation built, he gripped her jaw "Don't. Be. A baby." he growled as he forced her mouth open with difficulty, dropped the root in and forced her jaw to chew. "I swear to god, if you spit it out I'll smack you." he threatened, anger quite clear in his voice. The woman swallowed as instructed.

Satisfied, he turned back to Val. "Uhh, sure. Easy!" he complied once more, taking the roots from her and heading to the basement. The first of the two complied completely, submitting at just his words and chewing without aid and swallowing. He nodded with approval and moved on to the second one, as he neared she lashed out wildly, trying to bite at him from her restraints. He stepped back just in time to not get bit however, staring at the girl wide eyed in shock. A couple of trils later, he gripped her throat and punched her back to the wall - forcing a rugged series of coughs from the prisoner. "Are you gonna behave now?" He asked through his bared teeth, almost tempted to tighten his grip on her throat. She nodded with compliance, making choking noises under his grip. He immediately released her and she fell limp into her chains as she gathered her breath - defeated. He put the root in her mouth, being mindful of her teeth, she chewed and swallowed as promised.

Dusting his hands off, he went back up the ramp to be greeted with more science stuff! He resisted the urge to groan as he watched her faff about with wax. He smiled and nodded while day dreaming as she tried explaining something or other to him, then she asked him something, he just kept nodding and smiling until he realised she wasn't speaking anymore then looked to her with wide eyes "Huh? What? Her pulse? Uhh, sure." he complied, walking over to the bound girl and putting his index and middle finger to her neck, searching for her pulse. Once he'd found it, he asked "What do you mean by bleeding?" with a half squint and a tilted head. Would her skin tear open suddenly? Would her nose break and trickle blood? What did Valyeria mean by bleeding?

Once she'd explained to him, he'd record her pulse, counting each beat against his fingers until she told him to stop and give the result, willing to repeat the process as many times as it took.
Last edited by Varthakh on Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 698
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"Fair enough," Alex chuckled. "I just assumed since I would need that, you would too."

The pulse was important, as it was the first sign of the poison working.

"Bleeding... you know. Womanly bleeding? If you notice she's sitting in a puddle of blood, let me know." She didn't need him to examine her closely for the bleeding, but it was more just something to keep an eye on. Blood was bad.

She recorded the pulse once per bit, and within thirty bits she had called off the experiment. Disappointed, Alex administered the antitoxin and sent her back downstairs.

"Grab the next one? The tall one, if you please."

When he disappeared, Alex set up the next candle. By including a set of these candles with the table decoration she was going to give to Evelyn Andaris, she was almost guaranteed to kill her. If she could get the poison to work, that is.

Once the woman was in place, Alex lit the candle but had the same disappointing results as the first experiment.

Alex pursed her lips and shook her head as she told Fridgar to return the woman. She was so enraptured by the experiment she didn't notice his rather obvious inattention.

"Can you grab the last one?"

Her words were short, though not out of anger. She was focused intently on the task, trying desperately to figure out what had gone wrong with the first two.

It was just as Fridgar was returning that Alex gasped. "Of course!"

How had she missed it? The values she had been using were based on a long-term accumulation of the Mist in their bodies- these women didn't have that. It didn't change the dosage, but it did change how long it took to take effect.

"We're going to go for a bit longer this time. I realized that I hadn't accounted for the fact that these women weren't using Mist over a long period of time, so the reaction wouldn't happen as fast as I assumed. If you want to go outside for a few trills or stretch out, feel free." As if for the first time, Alex realized how bored he looked. "I'm sure this is all far more boring to you than it is to me," she said with a smile that showed she didn't take offense.

The bits ticked by, Alex monitoring only half as often, but it had only taken ten bits to start showing results. The woman's heart rate leaped up to 130bpb, and she called out for Fridgar.

"Hey! Fridgar! I need you back in here."

She removed a small syringe and carefully removed a bit of the woman's blood. "This doesn't make any sense. I can't imagine why this one is suddenly reacting! This doesn't make any sense!" Alex pinched her lips together.

What was going on?

Something warm splashed on her feet, and Alex looked down in confusion.

"Fek"

The seat was covered in blood, somehow blocked from Alex's view by the hem of her nightgown, which was quickly becoming saturated with it.

Without hesitation, Alex grabbed the antidote and slammed it into the woman's arm, depressing the plunger fully. "Shit shit shit" she muttered.

This wasn't good.
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"Oh!" Oh god why!? "Yup, you've got it Val." he spoke, eager to dismiss the conversation topic. 'Idiot! Of course it's that kind of bleeding! Someone oughta slap you!!' He got to work on speaking aloud the pulse at given intervals - Valyeria seemed disappointed, he shrugged as she stuck another needle in her. "Alrighty then." he spoke with more compliance, unbinding the girl and slumping her over his shoulder. He walked briskly for the basement ramp and dropped the woman on the packed-earth floor before rebinding her to the wall. 'Now, which one's the tall one?' He looked between the other two prisoners and narrowed his eyes. Of course, it was the one that hadn't fought back when he'd given her the root.

He walked up to her with a grin and unbound her - as hoped, she didn't fight back. He carried her with ease to their destination and put her down a little more gently than the last - favouring this prisoner of the others. he tied her in and repeated the same process as before, somehow they ended up with the same result? Or so Valyeria's shaking head would have told him. He nodded with approval before unbinding the girl and taking her back down the ramp. That left the last woman - the broken nosed one. He scowled at her through her blindfold as he rebound the taller woman. He approached the nosy one with caution, not wanting to lose an ear. She didn't leap out at him this time however, with a tilted head and a raised eyebrow he went to work undoing her straps.

It wasn't until her final wrist strap that he noticed the bridled energy in her form, all too late. Without warning, at the click of her final strap being released, she sucker-punched him with all her strength, forcing Fridgar to turn his head with the blow as she scrambled from him and assumed a combat stance, removing her blindfold. He sighed with irritation as he turned to face her slowly. He walked over to her with fury in his eyes, baring his teeth as she threw another punch straight into his face. He reeled from the blow a little before baring his claws and charging her, blocking her attempted right hook with his fore-arm and slapping her to the floor - his claws left red lines down her cheek which bled slightly. The woman sobbed as she got up onto her hands and knees.

Sniffling, Fridgar took hold of her, picked her up and slumped her onto his shoulder - she fought back regardless, kicking and punching with hammer fists into his back "Not bad for a killer." He congratulated the menace woman. A trickle ran down his lip from his nose, gross. He reflexively put his fingers to the wetness and looked at it through the dim light. It certainly wasn't snot, as he walked up the ramp into the lighter room, he discovered that it was blood. The bitch had given him a bloody nose? Now he was impressed, she'd managed something the male Aukari yesterday never could. She was going to pay for it regardless, but he was still impressed. "You've got a mean left jab, woman." He congratulated once more before Valyeria gasped with realisation about something nerdy. He walked past her and threw the girl into the table, trying to hurt her. The whole thing shook with the impact of her body and she finally yielded.

Wiping the blood from his nose with his sleeve, he tied her limbs down. "Sounds good to me, I'll go clean up this bitch's mess." He spoke, pointing to his nose unamused. "Call me if you need me, I'll just be outside." he informed before walking to the front door and leaning on the wall outside. Once satisfied that Val couldn't hear him, he groaned with pain and immediately put his hands to his nose, checking to make sure it was still straight - thank the immortals it was. He continued to growl in anger and curse, ashamed that he'd let some maid of all things draw his blood. Pinching his nose at the base and tilting his head back, he'd force the bleeding to stop, he just had to wait.

Once again awoken from his daydream, Val was calling him. How long had he been standing there staring at the clouds? Oh well, time to see what’s up with Valyeria. he removed his hand from his nose and straight his neck, working through any stiffness he'd gathered from standing there. "What's going on?" he asked, scraping dried flakes of blood from his digits. Val certainly didn't look disappointed with whatever was going on, Maybe her experiment was working? She spoke, completely baffled. In return, Fridgar spoke with worry upon noticing a puddle forming on the table "Uhh, Val?" but all too late, the thick red liquid had already poured onto the floor at her feet.

he stared wide eyes, unsure of what to do. Valyeria shoved another needle in her arm following some cursing. The panic seemed to be catching, even going as far as to make Fridgar Look around in confusion. 'WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?' he screamed internally, searching the room for a mop or something. "Can't we just bandage it!?" He questioned in a fluster, that's what normally happened when people bled right? bandages? "JUST DO WHATEVER IT IS YOU GIRLS DO EVERY MONTH!?" The panic continued to rise. This was normal right? This was normal levels of womanly bleeding? He prayed not for the sake of every female on Idalos.
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Alex didn't even notice the bloody nose until she spotted the droplets on the woman's body. That prompted a quick search, but she let out a relieved sigh when she realized the woman was not, in fact, bleeding. She noticed the trail of drops that led from the hatch to the table, then out the door and put two and two together.

Smiling, Alex took a moment and set the vials of moukou extract out where he might see them- maybe now he'd use them.

When the bleeding started in earnest, Alex was terrified. The woman wasn't supposed to die yet, and definitely not without the accelerated heart rate? What had happened?

Even as the blood poured out of her, the woman attached to the table seemed unaware of what was going on. She winced, pulling away from the needle Alex jabbed into her arm, and tried to say something through the gag.

Alex was floored by Fridgar's comment. Bandage it? What did the man think she was going to do? Ram her arm up the woman like some kind of morbid puppet to attach a piece of cloth to her insides? Her flat gaze was equal parts shock and flabbergasted. "I-no. It's not like this."

To be fair, Alex only had the appearance of a period, since she was Yludih. The blood leaked out slowly for a few trials, then stopped. No side effects, no mood swings, nothing, so she wasn't the expert on those trials. But this wasn't right.

A ridiculous thought burst into Alex's mind, and a bout of hysterical laughter threatened to erupt from her lips. She remembered that you are supposed to elevate a wound, and she had an image of Fridgar holding the woman upside down as blood poured out of her.

She shook herself back into the present and sighed. The woman was dead, just didn't know it yet. The blood had slowed slightly but Alex didn't have any medical supplies, so there was nothing she could do.

"I can't do anything," Alex said in a small voice, her shoulders slumping. She set the empty syringe back on the table and turned away.

She turned and walked outside, a small part of her rejoicing that her poison worked while the rest of her was confused. Why had that one worked so well? It was unnatural how fast the blood had appeared, and how much of it there was, and Alex didn't like it.

Was it the juicing process?

Alex sighed and leaned her head back against the wall, looking up at the blue sky. She must have already been taking the root...

She groaned and said it aloud, slamming her fist against the wall at her back. She turned back to see if Fridgar had followed her.

Once back inside, Alex began cleaning it up, when she suddenly realized that she didn't actually know if the woman had been taking the root.

"Fridgar, how do you feel about a bit of... interrogation?"
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The panic faded as he looked to Valyeria more closely. Was there an underlying sadness in her eyes? Within a few trils, he figured out what that meant - she couldn't save her. It was soon confirmed with her words, followed by her turning for the exit and leaving. Left in the room by himself, his jaw dropped, almost unable to comprehend what had happened. With an unsure look on his face, he approached the bound girl, taking in the fact that she was going to die and nothing could be done to save her. Was it deserved? She had killed her father, a good man, for something as material as money. Try as he might, he couldn't help but pity her though.

He turned from the girl after a bit or two - Valyeria still wasn't back, perhaps he'd best check on her? He walked to the door, lingering in the doorway to find that she hadn't left, just needed some air. Which was fair enough, they'd just seen the tragic end of a woman, Val must've been heartbroken - but he didn't know what to say. Instead, he waited in the doorway for her. The root? Did the root he gave her do this? Oh dear. As she turned around, he spoke and walked with her "What's the plan, Val?" she began to clean up the mess left behind by the now-dead woman on the table. "Interrogation? Uhh." 'They're killers dude, you wanted to beat them up yestertrial anyway.' reminded the voice in his head. "You've got it." He spoke firm before heading back down the basement.

He walked straight past the tall one, whom he favoured, and went for the short one that had walloped him earlier. "This is gonna be a lot less fun than last time, bitch." he spat, his words erupting a panic in the blindfolded girl as his heavy footsteps approached. She didn't struggle though, too fearful from the last time. he unbound her, picked her up and carried her up the ramp. He stopped at the table, looking over the body of the girl with sorrow. He'd killed animals before, sure. Never had he been responsible for the death of a person though - it was different. Holding onto the girl with one hand, he unbound the dead woman and hesitantly pushed her off. The thud was sickening.

The short woman came to life and started to panic at the sound - Clever. She thrashed and fought back, suddenly seeming to realise what had happened. Crying through her gag and blindfold, he dropped her onto the table in much the same fashion he had before. Her sister's blood soaked into her clothes as Fridgar tied her down, tight. "Let's do this." he spoke to val before walking to the door and closing it tight.
word count: 490
Whenever one finds oneself inclined to bitterness, it is a sign of emotional failure.
-- Bertrand Russell
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Descent into Chaos Part 3: Questionable Morality

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Alex nodded her head. It was time to do what she needed to. She lifted the blindfold off the woman and leaned over.

"Don't talk unless I ask you to. You scream, we gag you and make you hurt. Don't scream." Alex's eyes fixed the woman with a stare as she slowly removed the gag.

Sure enough, the moment she took out the gag the woman took in a deep breath, her lungs swelling. Instinctively, Alex reacted, pushing down hard on the woman's stomach. The air whooshed out of her lungs in a gasp, the threat averted for the moment.

"Hit her stomach for me? Not too hard- I don't want to kill her yet," Alex said, looking at Fridgar.

"Now. Lets try this again. I just want to ask you some questions, then I'll send you back downstairs."

The woman eyed Alex warily, but didn't scream. She appeared to be in some pain, and Alex didn't want to imagine what the hits from Fridgar would feel like.

"Now. Did your sister take Mist?"

The woman hacked, and reared, a glob of spit landing on Alex's face. It dripped down and Alex held herself perfectly still.

"Not a good idea."

She turned around, determined to solve this. Sighing, she set a blade in the fire.

"I had hoped to avoid this, but I need the information and I need it now. Fridgar, hold her down and make sure that gag is in. The more she moves, the worse this is going to be for her."

She waited till he had complied, then grabbed a scalpel and walked towards the woman's right hand. She forced the hand out, but the woman realized what was going on and began to struggle. Alex wasn't particularly strong, and she couldn't hold the finger down and cut it off cleanly. "Fridgar- some help here?"

At last the hand was stretched out, and Alex pushed the scalpel through, twisting the joint to pull free with a sucking pop. The woman's body jerked, and Alex looked up to make sure Fridgar was keeping her still.

She grabbed the blade in the fire and held it to the wound. The smell of cooking flesh filled the room, and Alex studiously ignored it. She knew the wound needed to be sterilized, and she grabbed a small bottle of wiskey and sloshed it over the wound.

"Can you bandage this up Fridgar? Just wrap it well, but not too tight. That's probably the most important part."

She returned her attention to the woman on the table, tears freely running down her face now. Any sign of resistance was gone, and Alex felt a momentary stab of pity, possibly a tinge of remorse. The woman was still just an average, ordinary housewife, no matter what she had done to her father. She had never expected it to end like this. Alex hardened herself, and looked down again.

"You tell me what I want, I'll give you pain killers. Otherwise, we've got 20 more times we can do this. It's your call." She purposely didn't learn their names. Her father had said it would provide an edge, to increase their terror, but the woman seemed plenty scared to her. Plus, names would humanize them and Alex liked to think of them as anything but.

"So, did your sister take Mist?"

Mutely, the gag still in place, the woman nodded.

"Good. How long has she been taking it?"

Careful of her fingers, Alex pulled it down, for the woman to say "Three arcs," then gently returned it to her mouth.

Alex mixed up a quick batch of moukou bean powder which she smeared on the woman's tongue. It would work within bits, and Alex told Fridgar to bring the woman downstairs. She had got what she needed to know.

When at last he had returned, Alex was waiting for him, seated at the table.

"So, Fridgar. I'm assuming that was your first torture? What did you think? Can't say I've ever done that before. I-I think I need a drink." She needed to talk, if only for a little, and she leaned over to grab the bottle of whiskey she had used to disinfect the wound. Her hands only shook a little- it was different when your life wasn't on the line. This seemed so much...colder. So much worse for some reason.

She poured Fridgar a shot, then downed the rest of the bottle, not caring if he stared at her tiny body guzzle a massive bottle in one sitting.

"I need some air. Don't go far- Warren is around here somewhere," she said as she moved suddenly to her feet, setting the bottle down gently on the scarred tabletop. It seemed odd to be sitting there, the pool of blood still drying from where the woman lay.

"And move her to the table. I'll do an autopsy when I get back."

Abruptly, Alex turned on her heel and stalked outside, her emotions rolling into a ball inside of her.

What was she doing?
word count: 875
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Descent into Chaos Part 3: Questionable Morality

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A shiver struck his spine, forcing an uncomfortable roll of his shoulders. Valyeria was kind of scary when she wanted to be, if he could see that, then the girl on the table must have been terrified, poor thing. He gulped, "Yes, Boss." he refrained from using her name in front of the captive. Without looking in her eyes, he approached and gripped the edge of the table and leaned over the woman. Could he bring himself to hit a woman in cold blood? He paused for a tril or two with a raised fist. The answer was yes as he discovered with a quick jab to her abdomen. The blow forced the woman to attempt to curl up and cough violently, she merely managed to pull at the restraints and quake with each convulsion of her chest.

He looked to Val and nodded before stepping back without another word. 'They're killers, dude. Don't be a pussy about it.' he reminded himself, straightening out his back and standing tall. His eyes widened as he reeled from the glop of spit that Val took to the face, cringing a little at the thought alone. How disgusting, she sure as hell deserved another punch for that - but Val had something else in mind? She set a knife on the fire? What, was she going to brand the girl? With a worried glance, he nodded in compliance. He walked to the girl hesitantly and tightened the gag by the strap and leaned over her, pressing his weight into her shoulders and pinning her entire upper body. He looked to Val with confusion, she needed help? His heart sank as he realised what with - the scalpel in her hand and the girls clenched fist made it clear enough of Alex's intent.

Shuddering, he released the girl’s shoulders, leaving her to thrash about in protest. He gripped the girls hand and forced it open with strength alone, then held the tip of her finger and pulled, stretching out her hand and leaving little room to struggle. The scalpel pierced the skin with ease, cutting around the joint before Valyeria took hold of the tip and pulled it free with a sick popping noise. He maintained his focus on the hand despite the uneasy feeling in his gut. While Val fetched the knife, he looked to the discarded finger and pondered. All three sovereign substances on one digit... 'No! Dude, that's weird! Don't make a girl totem! Get a Jacadon one or something instead!' pleaded the voice in his head. He was jolted back to reality at the smell of cooking meat, was it dinner time already? With excitement in his eyes, he followed the scent to something less attractive than a cooking steak - The red-hot knife flat being pressed against the girls open wound, the uneasy feeling in his gut churned, begging to throw away what little he'd had to eat that trial.

He bandaged her appropriately after Val had sterilised the wound and stepped back, leaving Val to her thing. He silently gagged in the background while she spoke to the woman - a pantomime of grimaces and plenty of pretending to throw up. He stood up straight, acting natural as soon as she told him to take the girl back down to the basement, he complied. He'd found a sort of rhythm with unbinding the women, slumping them on his shoulder and carrying them off - it was almost autopilot at this point, he went through the motions without realising it. He'd awoke from his daydream as he bound her to the wall, checking over all of them again, just to be sure that she was secure. Once satisfied, he turned back for the slope and closed the hatch behind him. They appeared to be done with the experiment, so he pulled the bed over the hatch as he'd seen Warren do on the previous trial, sat on it and looked to Val.

He nodded grievously, "That obvious, huh?" he spoke in regards to his first torture. He shrugged "I mean, I'm no expert but I think we did a good job?" He spoke, saying 'we' as to help bare the load rather than put it all on her. She certainly didn't look all right with what had happened. "A drink sounds good." he accepted the shot of whiskey, unphased it had been used prior to sterilise the wound. He knocked it back, relishing in the burn of the alcohol in his throat as the aroma filled his senses. He exhaled in relief as the burning sensation died down a little, before looking to Val and dropping his jaw. By the immortals, she could drink! She was downing the whole bottle - he couldn't even do that as a grizzly bear! His eye twitched with awe, dreading to imagine just how expensive a night out was for the poor girl.

"..Y-You machine!" He spoke, full of enthusiasm. Grinning with excitement, he watched as she chugged, nearing the last of the bottle's contents. "Yes, Val! You beast!" he rejoiced, jumping to his feet merrily as she finished the whole damn bottle, not even upset that none was left for him. He'd nearly started dancing in a ridiculous manner before he saw her expression and remembered the reason that they were drinking. "I uhh... Right." He spoke, sitting on the bed once again with drooped ears and a saddened frown. "Yeah, I'll stick around." he affirmed, taking a whiff of his hands before brushing the dried blood from them. "You've got it." he complied, standing up and approaching the body of the girl hesitantly, Val left the room.

He pondered whether to go after her or not as he attempted to lift the body. 'Nah, you're shit at talking emotional stuff, dude. Just give her some space.' he reminded himself once more with a nod. Lifting this body was a real piece of work - There was no friction to his grip by cause of the blood, and no muscle to keep her firm or rigid enough to pick up with ease. With his rage bubbling in his chest he yanked at the girl, only to have her slip out of his hand. His eye twitched some more with fury before he got down into a squat and lifted the girl from the puddle of blood by her clothes and plopped her down on the table with a sickening splat. He dried his hands in her clothes before walking over to the table and planting himself there, looking to the empty bottle with amusement. "What a beast.".
word count: 1125
Whenever one finds oneself inclined to bitterness, it is a sign of emotional failure.
-- Bertrand Russell
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